High Level Control over Forming Memories

Regarding this report on the site of memory (long term potentiation), it is not clear to me that they have explained what they claim to explain. The memory systems that engineers design have high level distant control over whether the memory system is at some instant to be devoted to writing or reading. In this example the organist decides that this is a stop setting to remember. In a computer system the logic that decides whether the next few cycles are to be devoted to recording data in, rather than retrieving data from memory, is decided at some point rather outside the memory system proper. This pattern is even more extreme in either film or digital photography. I speculate here about events that lead to a rat transferring short term memories to long term memories. This is the sort of situation that the above paper purports to explain. Whether the data are worth remembering is decided somewhat after the data are collected.

In any case it must be possible to retrieve a memory with little effect on displacing old memories. A chemical concentration shift is what one would expect of evolution to signal ‘remember this’. Highly distributed chemical dispensers signaled by nerves might be fast enough. I bet the modern brain has superseded that stage.

Hawkins introduced me to the ‘frame’ which is some situation with parameters. The frame makes predictions and when some frame has been activated and the predictions are not met we may have a situation where we record short term memories as longer term memories, probably in a different technology. Certainly high ‘valence’ surprises (‘really good’ or ‘really bad’) warrant long memories so as to influence future behavior to increase or decrease repetitions of the frame. The frame notion suggests that some part of the head is always running ahead a few frames looking for dangers or opportunities, or ‘landmarks’. Kanerva’s ideas greatly extend this sort of idea; frames are linked together with pointer structures that a programmer would recognize.